“Dark or milk ? ” , I grinned sheepishly. I was way out of my depths. It was a blind shot. I hoped that I’d have a 50% shot at this.
The day was the same. Work wrapped up earlier than what I had expected. With nothing else to do, nobody else to hang out with, I decided to head home. The commute back home was a routine of sorts. Crowded trains, getting squeezed and squashed. Some where deep down, I had lost myself down the line. A lot had changed the last one year. Life happened. Life progressed and while things were changing rapidly around me, I felt I was stuck in the same spot. I couldn’t help but feel cheated and helpless at the same time. Nothing made sense whatsoever! I hadn’t planned for any of this. I wanted none of this to be fair. Things just happened and one could say that I choose to go with the flow.
The early exit also meant that I could quite comfortably manage a seat on the mildly crowded train. It was probably the silver lining to the day. I sat and pulled out my phone to fake pretend an interest over the American elections. Like hell I cared. It didn’t matter to me. I never did understand the global economics of things. People around me poured in copious opinion around the matter. They all had a theory on what might happen. The only thing that I managed to conclude was that irrespective of what happened, none of that mattered to me.
“Hi..”, an introduction interrupted my defeatist chain of thoughts.
“Hello..” , I replied politely.
“Couldn’t help but notice, You do look sad man. Just one life you know. Don’t squander it over things that don’t matter” , the young lad said.
I felt offended by his blatant intrusion. What the hell did this bloke know about my life. I was both appalled and irked by that observation. Truth is, I felt so exposed and naked to this stranger’s eyes.
“I’m sorry!!!”, I blurted a rebuttal.
“Don’t be. That’s the problem dude. You are sorry. What happened happened. That’s just that. I don’t know what happened, and frankly, it’s none of my business. But just a quick glace, I could say that you were unhappy with life”
“And how did you manage to get all that by a glance???” , I asked. The bloke had got me curious now. Was he a mind reader of sorts, I started to wonder.
“Oh that’s fairly simple. Notice a ring on your finger. Meant you were married. The skin is not that much tanned around the ring finger. So it must have been something that happened not long ago. Considering the fact that you are well dressed and do carry an outrageously expensive bag for your laptop, I’m sure that you are heading home early which is not an usual thing. Yet, there is no sign of excitement in heading home. Home is where the heart is, and your heart aint at home. And I tallied it all up and decided that the marriage was not your first choice. I’m betting on a troubled relationship. Things probably didn’t pan out in your favour.
All I feel is the resentment in your heart over the whole thing. ” , the bloke paused.
His keen sense of observation left me shocked!!!!! Wow. It felt so intrusive. He got all of that from my ring finger!!!! He was not wrong though. I said nothing. I wasn’t not in the state of mind to say anything. He left me with more thoughts.
“See boss”, he continued. “Lets get certain things straight. You aint a kid. You signed up for the marriage. Your defence could be anything. Whatever that is, it was still a choice that you made. There absolutely is no point in delegating the blame on fate , luck or ever folks in your life. For good or for worse, you chose to let it happen. It’s now done and dusted. there is no changing it.
You have a choice to make again now. Either live your life, or spend the rest of it with contempt and resentment. You are free to choose happiness and equally free to remain miserable. ” he concluded.
I sat and said nothing.
“LET IT GO”, he said as he gently tapped my shoulder. He got up and was all set to leave.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t even get you name? What’s it buddy?”
“I’m named after a god dude. Since all gods are the same, you are free to call me by whatever name your faith you follow. I’m not saying that I’m god, but I think you and I were meant to meet today. You and I were meant to have this conversation today. It’s probably god’s way of telling you to wake up”.
He smiled and make his way towards the exit.
The conflict in my mind raged violently. The bloke was right though. I couldn’t bring myself to let things go. I denied myself a shot at life. I was busy denying life that my wife deserved too. What did she ever do to deserve this from me!!! Wasn’t her fault. I felt a deep sense of guilt taking over. I had managed to jeopardise two lives by being mindlessly selfish. I decided to set things right. I hit the shop.
“Dark or milk ?” I asked Sheetal. I didn’t know what kind of chocolate she liked. I felt very stupid. Married to her for 8 months and I had never even bothered asking her what kind of chocolates she liked.
I saw her smile. It was probably the first time I noticed her simple wonderful smile without any bias clouding my eyes.
“I like gems the best” , she said. She smiled and took both chocolates. “I don’t mind having these either. “. She walked towards the fridge. She turned back and shot me a glance. “Thanks”, her delicate voice carried so much love that I had been blind to all these months.
I hit the shower to freshen up. Of all days, today I felt a lot lighter. It felt like a heavy burden had been lifted off my chest. I could finally breathe.
“Carrot or Atta? , Sheetal called out from the kitchen. “I’m making halwa tonight. Which one do you like?, Carrot or Atta?
“BREAD“, I replied laughing. “I like bread halwa the best. but really don’t mind having either carrot or Atta”, I said.
And theirs was finally a home.
Three words of magic indeed.